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Thirty Years Ago I believe that it was in the autumn of the year 1973 that word reached our Society of the existence of certain remarkable works of hydraulic engineering, or the ruins thereof, to be found somewhere in the distant Mission Hills.... Preparations were a matter of hours and the day after the Society had issued its directives, we set out in search of the semilegendary Dams of Mission Hills.

-- "THE DAMS OF MISSION HILLS," Michael Holzman, February 6, 1975

Twenty-Five Years Ago Ms. Widmer, who fancies herself kingmaker and local tough since the publication of her new book on dining, now goes to restaurants and enjoys or dislikes the meal according to the mood she brings with her or the ease of conversation of the people she eats with. And like the news reporter who comes to see something that has already been decided back at the newsroom, she returns to touch in the color to her prewritten review. How else to explain the needless and untrue review of Kiyo's unless one questions her basic knowledge of Japanese food and restaurants.

-- LETTERS: "SASHIMI DISPARAGED BY GLOVE TONGUE," Michael Wolcott, February 7, 1980

Twenty Years Ago Farra Kitrell, the woman catching the pelicans, wears a wet suit to protect her legs from the frightened birds' nasty scratches. She's been capturing injured pelicans since October of 1983, when she first saw such a bird on the Ocean Beach pier with 30 feet of fishing line trailing behind it. Sickened by the sight, Kitrell clambered on top of the Sea Dog Restaurant to rescue it, and she's been helping pelicans ever since. The log that she keeps to fulfill the federal requirements for obtaining a license to aid endangered species shows that since October of 1983 she has rescued more than 800 brown pelicans, and of that number, roughly 20 have died.


Fifteen Years Ago San Diegans own more telephone answering machines, imported cars, and compact disc players per capita than the residents of 42 other major American cities recently surveyed by a market research company. And now the region can claim yet another first: the greatest number of weapons -- automatics, semiautomatics, rifles, pistols, and shotguns -- seized by Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents anywhere in the country. During a one-year period ending last September, DEA officers here confiscated a grand total of 1101 firearms of various kinds out of a total of 5758 for the entire United States. The second highest weapons haul was less than half that of San Diego: 544 in San Francisco. Houston was third at 531, New York took a distant fourth with 347, and Los Angeles checked in with 322.

-- CITY LIGHTS: "AMERICA'S FINEST WEAPONS CACHE," Matt Potter, February 8, 1990

Ten Years Ago Some blame President Clinton. He's indecisive, they say, opportunistic, and according to my maiden aunt, a "sex-pig." For others, it's Hillary's fault, with her darkish dissertation on health care, her feminist, I-can-hurt-you-from-here style. For still others, it's "government in our life like a nail in our shoe." But I think something religious, or at least mystical, happened last November 8 when the Democrats lost more races than a three-legged mule....

Unbeknownst to most of the American electorate, 1995 is the Chinese Year of the Boar.... Among his immortal host -- they write in pictures, where homonyms don't exist -- none could tell [Newt Gingrich] that "boar" in English means an animal, and a fairly graceful one at that, and a "bore" in English is an anything-but-graceful man.

-- EVENTS: "I WANT, I WANT, I WANT," Peter Griffin, February 2, 1995

Five Years Ago I mentioned to Buechner that a friend, now in his mid-60s, recently had bought a new jacket and said to me, about that purchase, "I wonder if this will be my last jacket?" Buechner laughed. "I think that happens to all of us. My last jacket, or 'If I take out a three-year subscription to this or that magazine, will I be around to read it?' And one's grandchildren. I think, looking at those little people, Will I be around to see them wear long pants, or enter high school, or, to see them graduate from high school?"

-- READING: "THE EYES OF THE HEART," Judith Moore, February 5, 2000

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